Jump to content

Q Acoustics


newlash09
 Share

Recommended Posts

5 hours ago, Jules_S said:

Hi all

It's really interesting to read about all of the different partnering equipment that is being used with the Q's. It does tend to reinforce the opinions from some of the mainstream audio press that they are relatively un-fussy about partnering equipment and just get on with the job. That said, I'm sure some combinations probably work slightly better than others, and I am at the beginning of a voyage of discovery!

As you may have seen from my other posts in the 2-channel forum, I have decided on a course of action, although I think it's going to take a while for a final decision to emerge:

  1. Purchase a dedicated 2-channel hi-fi amp for music, to use in place of the AV amp (this is PRIORITY 1!)
  2. Replace the AV amp altogether with a separate AV processor / pre-amp and efficient power amps for the centre, surround back and surround height channels.. Use the new 2-channel hi-fi amp to drive the front channels in the AV system. This means therefore that whatever 2-channel amp I have must have an input capable of being set up for this purpose, bypassing the internal pre-amp stage.
  3. Get a second pair of Concept 20's to complete the surround channels. I already have the Concept Centre and one pair of 20's so this will make a complete 7.1 system, which is as far as I'm prepared to go in my current listening room
  4. Audition the Concept 500s...:nerves:

It may sound as though the emphasis is on the AV side of things - it's not. It's just that to get to where I want to be with both music and movies, the AV stuff is more complex. I'm actually far more interested in getting my music system up and running, and I think this is where the lion's share of any budget will be spent.

I'm very interested in Class-D at the moment, I think it's because the technology seems to be coming of age now with the latest models using the n-core Hypex modules, and I have a bit of a thing for energy efficiency! I've read lots of good stuff, both with magazine reviews and personal reviews, of some of these amps and I have a shortlist to try out, comprising:

  • Primare I25 with DAC (no Prisma - I'm not interested in streaming)
  • NAD M10 - the Dirac room correction is intriguing
  • Peachtree Nova 300
  • (outsider) - Leema Pulse IV

That said, and given my previous post about Naim kit, I had a short and unplanned demo of the Uniti Atom this week and was surprised enough at what I heard to add it to my shortlist, despite not being Class-D. It made a pleasant noise though on the front of a pair of MA Golds, even though we were only using Spotify as a source.

Of course, the sound quality is the most important factor in the decision, but whatever I choose also has to meet other needs, specifically around the availability of inputs.The only issue I may have with some of the above candidates (and this is up-in-the-air until I've heard them with my source components) is a lack of analogue inputs. I'm using my Cambridge Azur 740C CDP as a DAC for the CXC transport and also for the output from a Sonos Connect. The 740C is a pretty decent bit of kit. Depending on how I feel about the various onboard DACs versus my CDP, I may decide to keep it. In which case the Naim will rule itself out due to a lack of analogue inputs.

I have also been seduced by reading far too many glowing reports of the new flagship Q500. I think I'm obsessed! Don't get me wrong, I adore my 40's both sonically and visually. But more is more, as they say :D and I do feel that my room, although not gigantic by any means, could quite easily take them. Any 500 owners on here that could provide some valuable insight into living with them? I can be very flexible with room positioning in relation to the rear wall (from 80cm away right up to about 3m) but I am stuck with placement very close to side walls due to the narrowness of the room. All opinion is welcome!

Jules

Hi Jules S :)

In my HT setup which is a 5.1.4 set up in a 17x11.5 ft open plan living room, which opens up to a 23x11 ft dining room, the basic marantz SR6011 drives all the channels at reference volume levels of 85db without breaking a sweat. And that is really really loud. And I watch movies in DTS neural X all the time. Which means the sound is continuously extrapolated to feed all the 9 channels at all times. And still the marantz doesn't sweat. 

Considering the above, unless you really want to setup a reference HT system with a AV processor + external class D amps, most top shelf AVR's should be able to run the planned HT system just great without any external amplification. 

The funds spared from buying class D amps for HT, can go into buying a proper 2 channel setup to drive the future concept 500's. 

Class D has really come a long way. And there are options galore there. Even Dac's have improved considerably in the recent years.

The naim uniti atom doesn't have pre amp direct feed or HT bypass inputs as far as I know. It however has RCA inputs and analogue preamp outputs for a power amp. So it might not fit into the planned installation . 

I've used a devialet with my concept 40's and it sounds lovely. The devialets non existent noise floor gives a sense of eerie blackness coming from the concept speakers. It is effecient and a all in one streamer cum dac cum amp too. And it can accept HT bypass inputs too. But they are expensive. 

This is just to suggest a sense of direction. We can suggest further regarding amps or streamers that fit your bill, depending on how you want to proceed :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Jules_S said:

Wow, that's great to know, thanks for the opinion. In my room, the 40's are about 40cm from the side walls, but 2m into the room from the rear. Interesting to hear that you don't feel the 500's interact too badly with side walls, that's encouraging. I'm going to try and get a demo of them once I've sorted out my amp position (or maybe at the same time, if the bank account can afford it!). Did they take much in the way of running-in?

Jules

Not really but they are STILL showing passages of play that astound me!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, newlash09 said:

Considering the above, unless you really want to setup a reference HT system with a AV processor + external class D amps, most top shelf AVR's should be able to run the planned HT system just great without any external amplification. 

I'm not looking for a reference level AV setup going down this route, it's just about energy consumption. My AVR is rated at a lot higher output than I'm ever likely to need, even allowing for all those big Hollywood explosions, given the size of my room and the volumes / speaker loads presented. So it's spending a lot of time idling away drawing power and just wasting it. Plus quite a lot of the time I don't need all channels powered when a lot of the telly I'm watching is only broadcast in stereo anyway.

So I'm looking to get to a situation where I can turn on the channels I need as and when I need them without them being on all the time, while having a processor that draws very little energy. Also as I'm looking to integrate with the 2-channel system via an AV bypass input, it means I wouldn't be using the front channel amplification in an AVR so again it seems like just a waste, hence not looking to simply downsize to a smaller AVR. This may sound a bit dotty, but that's how my brain works! (or doesn't sometimes....). My current AVR will be staying for the time being to ensure my budget goes towards the new 2-channel amp, but as soon as I can afford to, it will be moved on.

BTW the Devialet sounds wonderful, but you're right, expensive, and way out of my league I'm afraid. If only... -_-

Good to know that the 500's don't take a lot of settling in. I like un-fussy stuff!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So....

I have decided to pull the pin and get things moving on the amp front. This week I'm going to demo my Concept 40's with the Peachtree Nova 300. I'm also going to order the Gato 250s (without the network board) direct from Gato on a 14 day trial. That should give me a good start on evaluating this new-fangled Class-D stuff! Both look like very strong contenders with similar approaches - whether there's a tangible difference between their presentations remains to be seen. Both amps review very well....but as we all know, a review is only one person's opinion ^_^

As I'm not particularly interested in streaming (I have Sonos Connects in every room anyway, and that's as far as I'm bothered to go) the lack of those facilities is not an issue. I think I'll still try to get the NAD M10 in the equation some time over the next couple of weeks too, just to see what Dirac can do for the acoustics in my L-shaped room.

Will keep you updated on progress.

Jules

Edited by Jules_S
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, Jules_S said:

So....

I have decided to pull the pin and get things moving on the amp front. This week I'm going to demo my Concept 40's with the Peachtree Nova 300. I'm also going to order the Gato 250s direct from Gato on a 14 day trial. That should give me a good start on evaluating this new-fangled Class-D stuff! Both look like very strong contenders with similar approaches - whether there's a tangible difference between their presentations remains to be seen. Both amps review very well....but as we all know, a review is only one person's opinion ^_^

Will keep you updated on progress.

Jules

Good Plan. 

I'm listening to a Linn ADS + Gato 250S + Harbeths playing Brahms Chamber Music, as I type this....and very good it sounds to me.

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

30 minutes ago, CnoEvil said:

Good Plan. 

I'm listening to a Linn ADS + Gato 250S + Harbeths playing Brahms Chamber Music, as I type this....and very good it sounds to me.

I'm very impressed by what I've read in this thread bout Gato's customer service, which although not the primary reason for choosing a piece of equipment, is still a hugely important factor should (heaven forbid) anything go wrong in the future. I like this 5 year warranty too!

I'm getting all excited now... it's like an early Ch*****as present :party:

(can't bring myself to say the C-word before Dec 1st - the beginning of advent is early enough to start thinking about that event! Apart from mince pies.... it's never too early think about mince pies)

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/08/2019 at 22:39, Jules_S said:

I'm not looking for a reference level AV setup going down this route, it's just about energy consumption. My AVR is rated at a lot higher output than I'm ever likely to need, even allowing for all those big Hollywood explosions, given the size of my room and the volumes / speaker loads presented. So it's spending a lot of time idling away drawing power and just wasting it. Plus quite a lot of the time I don't need all channels powered when a lot of the telly I'm watching is only broadcast in stereo anyway.

So I'm looking to get to a situation where I can turn on the channels I need as and when I need them without them being on all the time, while having a processor that draws very little energy. Also as I'm looking to integrate with the 2-channel system via an AV bypass input, it means I wouldn't be using the front channel amplification in an AVR so again it seems like just a waste, hence not looking to simply downsize to a smaller AVR. This may sound a bit dotty, but that's how my brain works! (or doesn't sometimes....). My current AVR will be staying for the time being to ensure my budget goes towards the new 2-channel amp, but as soon as I can afford to, it will be moved on.

BTW the Devialet sounds wonderful, but you're right, expensive, and way out of my league I'm afraid. If only... -_-

Good to know that the 500's don't take a lot of settling in. I like un-fussy stuff!

Jules

I know this was not the main part of your underlying reason for change but is it not the case that the non-stereo separate amps in an AVR will not be using any power at all when, for example, a TV is outputting in stereo within a 5.1/7.1 system?  Admittedly, though, the power supply would permit greater headroom for the stereo in such a situation?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, samd said:

Jules

I know this was not the main part of your underlying reason for change but is it not the case that the non-stereo separate amps in an AVR will not be using any power at all when, for example, a TV is outputting in stereo within a 5.1/7.1 system?  Admittedly, though, the power supply would permit greater headroom for the stereo in such a situation?

As far as I'm aware, no. The overall power consumption for my Pioneer, as quoted in the manual (which I'm assuming - hoping! - is at full output) is 570W. Now I know it won't be pulling that just sitting there doing not a lot but I'm pretty certain that under normal load it will be using a lot more than can I achieve with discrete separates. Plus who doesn't like more toys in the living room? :D

I have my eye on a surround processor with a maximum rated consumption of 23W, and with carefully chosen power amps for surround duties (I'm thinking something along the lines of the Box Designs DS range) and a high quality Class-D 2-channel for audio / front duties, I'm confident that even running flat out I can better the Pioneer. I also get the chance to play around with other bits of kit and gain the ability to swap out as an d when I need to. Although I'm not going down the road of a Dolby Atmos setup at the moment, in the future that might change, so I could replace the processor without having to bin the amps too.

Anyway.... 9_9 I'm getting diverted by the bloody AV again! It's a lot lower down the order of priority than the main amp, which is on its way from Denmark as I type I hope. Really excited to se what it's like and to get hands-on for the first time. I went for the white top plate, which I'm hoping looks OK with the aluminum casing in the flesh. Chosen because my Concept 40's are in the white gloss finish which looks fab, and I thought I might as well make an effort to keep the aesthetics consistent. Will post photos as soon as it arrives.

Jules

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

So... an update on the latest. Up-front caveat, this is some initial impressions and not a definitive conclusion. Last week I took my speakers and Cambridge CXC / 740C CD combo to a local seller to audition the Peachtree Nova 300. I only managed about 90 minutes or so with it, and in an unfamiliar (and massive!) building, so it wasn't, and wasn't intended to be, a definitive audition. Nevertheless, given the conditions, the Nova / 40's combination actually sounded pretty decent, giving a controlled, fairly even-handed presentation. It was a bit bass-light although not as bad as I'd feared given the huge space the speakers were trying to fill, and the overall presentation on the forward side, possibly also down to the environment? Set in free space, the Q's delivered a decent stereo image, with little setup or fine tuning. There was good perception of depth, although I'd have preferred sharper focus. No doubt though that was more to do with the positioning, which was a "finger in the air" job! Unfortunately there wasn't sufficient time to play around with this too much.

I certainly enjoyed listening though. As I'd hoped, the Nova seemed more than happy to get a grip of the Q's drivers and deliver a performance that was more than sufficient to differentiate poor recordings from great ones, and yet get the best from them all rather than just presenting an unlistenable mush with the worse ones. The bass, although hardly extended or substantial, was tuneful and had good definition, it was easy to differentiate between acoustic bass instruments and electronic ones and to hear the pluck or thumbing of strings and the timbre of the note as it continued and decayed. There was little overhang that I could hear in that environment, notes stopped abruptly when appropriate. All in all, the qualities I was hoping to elicit from the combo, so I was very happy. I've agreed a home demo off the back of this very promising initial demo, which should really start to tell me how well the amp will gel in the context of my system and room (which I'm learning a lot about this week - see the room acoustics thread in 2-channel).

Anyway, to throw another ball into the air, the Gato Audio DIA-250S arrived earlier this week at home, direct from Denmark. I have to say that it's certainly a looker! Beautiful lines, fabulous build quality, and really tactile. I got it hooked up on Wednesday and have been playing ever since. 

The first thing I learned with the Gato in-situ is that my room is (was) a horrid place to listen! Freed from being driven by an underperforming AV amp, the Q's have been generating all sorts of bass that has the room all in a tizz! The first night's listening session did not go particularly well, I was not enamoured I must confess. On top of the very uneven bass frequencies, the upper midrange was pretty nasty, being harsh and very forward, as though the music was being hurled toward me from a cannon at 10,000 mph. I went to bed wondering what on earth was going on, given that I had certain expectations of the way it was going to sound.

Day two, however, and the result was fundamentally different. I appreciate that it's possible that this was down to simple acclimatisation, i.e. I have already learned to adjust to the way the amp & speakers are working together in the room. And it's true that the overall presentation was also still on the forward side, however the really nasty harshness just wasn't there. Having spent some hours so far working on the listening position to try and find a more even bass response, I was very aware of how the rest of the audio spectrum also changed as I moved around the room. Also, dredging up memories of how my previous system sounded in the same room, I also recall the same sort of undertone of "throwing it at you", so I suspect that a chunk of this is more a product of the acoustics than the system, and I'm going to keep working at this to try and get to the bottom of it.

Allowing for that big caveat, which is not the fault of the equipment, what I have now observed about the Gato Audio is that it exhibits the same lovely sense of control over the Q's as did the Peachtree. Bass lines have definition, detail, precision and control in spades, marvellous stuff. I'm also aware of a brilliant "hear through" quality that lets you just listen right into the music, picking out individual strands at will and enjoying how they contribute to the overall performance, without it feeling analytical or soulless (a criticism that seems to be levelled at Class-D amps quite often) . Having played around a bit with the seating and speaker positioning, I discovered that it was possible to overdo this - in the wrong position the music began to fall apart, with the bass apparently having filed for divorce form the mids and highs! Get the positioning right however and the coherence returned. So I can say that the things I've read about the Q's not being overly fussy about positioning are not true, and that had I had more time with the Peachtree last week I'd probably have been able to improve the imaging.

I'm reserving further judgment on the Gato until I've had a chance to do a bit more room tuning, as I think it would be unfair to level criticism at it if it's not being given the right environment in which to work. Therefore I'm not going to attribute the forward character to the amp just yet, nor the occasional over-emphasis on the highs. Hopefully this week I'll have the chance to compare the Peachtree Nova with the Gato at home, which I'm hoping will confirm if my suspicions of the room's faults are correct, or if indeed the Gato is not the fit I was hoping for. I'll post again after the comparison.

Happy listening, folks

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Jules_SGreat insight.

As an owner of the Gato, I would make the following points:

- If possible, i would leave it running at a volume of around 40, for several hours a day, until it has clocked up around 40 hrs.

- It has a silky quality, that gets better, with more miles on the clock.

- The Gato is very revealing....and generally, the CA stuff is more on the clean, analytical side,  so a different Source could yield different results.

- Can you try the DAC in the Gato? What about the Streamer Version?

Edited by CnoEvil
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow....Jules_S 

That was one great write up. Almost a nice review I would say. Glad you can get both the contenders for a in room bake off. I found back wall distance to the speakers to be very critical in my room. My minimum was 45 cms from back wall without bunging their ports. Will be ideal if you can get more distance than that from  back as well as side walls.

I don't know much, but there are those who believe that electronics also breakin,  and get smoother and sweeter with time. May be you can expect the Gato to break in too. @CnoEvil can suggest if he noticed any breakin in his use.

 I also found toeing in the speakers to a approx 1 mtr behind my listening position, gave me very good imaging, as compared to firing them straight ahead.

So please keep us posted with your findings on this very exciting ride :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi guys

Glad to know that my little insights are useful. I'll keep posting as and when I have something new to share. @CnoEvil - thanks for the advice on the amp - I've probably clocked up about 8 -10 hours or so, at volumes somewhat north of 40... :whistle: I will keep putting the miles on it as much as possible and see how it loosens up. I must admit I did give a thought to it needing to be run-in, and then I thought hey, it's a Class-D amp, probably won't benefit one little bit. So I guess I was wrong... The silky quality you speak of is what I had been looking for, so I hope it develops over time. I have two weeks to make a decision whether to keep it or return it so I need to crack on!

I hear what you say about the CA kit, not noted for being euphonic I agree... I'm not sure I'd call it harsh though - I've had the 740C for a number of years and have been very pleased with its sound. But it ain't going to smooth over too many cracks! I do want to try the onboard DAC in the amp, but not until I've got a better handle on how it performs in analogue only mode. Changing too many parameters in one go would probably just confuse me beyond belief. Of course if it turns out to be better than the 740's upsampling DAC then happy days, one less box! Not interested in the streaming though I must say, I have Sonos for that. 

@newlash09 the Concepts are currently running with the front of the tweeter domes 160cm from the rear wall, so there's plenty of space! Side walls is a bit tighter unfortunately, I'm limited by the width of the room, so they're just over 60cm from the side walls. Not ideal but that's my constraint. I'm sat about 3.5m from them. They're currently toed-in to focus just about on the listening position and actually giving a pretty good image. I have used them more nearfield before now and sat "inside" the triangle (which I always thought was meant to be a no-no, I love breaking rules!) and it imaged well there too. I've been focusing more on the tonal balance than imaging for the last day or so, but I will try moving them again and see if I can make some improvements there too.

Jules

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 minutes ago, Jules_S said:

Hi guys

Glad to know that my little insights are useful. I'll keep posting as and when I have something new to share. @CnoEvil - thanks for the advice on the amp - I've probably clocked up about 8 -10 hours or so, at volumes somewhat north of 40... :whistle: I will keep putting the miles on it as much as possible and see how it loosens up. I must admit I did give a thought to it needing to be run-in, and then I thought hey, it's a Class-D amp, probably won't benefit one little bit. So I guess I was wrong... The silky quality you speak of is what I had been looking for, so I hope it develops over time. I have two weeks to make a decision whether to keep it or return it so I need to crack on!

I hear what you say about the CA kit, not noted for being euphonic I agree... I'm not sure I'd call it harsh though - I've had the 740C for a number of years and have been very pleased with its sound. But it ain't going to smooth over too many cracks! I do want to try the onboard DAC in the amp, but not until I've got a better handle on how it performs in analogue only mode. Changing too many parameters in one go would probably just confuse me beyond belief. Of course if it turns out to be better than the 740's upsampling DAC then happy days, one less box! Not interested in the streaming though I must say, I have Sonos for that. 

@newlash09 the Concepts are currently running with the front of the tweeter domes 160cm from the rear wall, so there's plenty of space! Side walls is a bit tighter unfortunately, I'm limited by the width of the room, so they're just over 60cm from the side walls. Not ideal but that's my constraint. I'm sat about 3.5m from them. They're currently toed-in to focus just about on the listening position and actually giving a pretty good image. I have used them more nearfield before now and sat "inside" the triangle (which I always thought was meant to be a no-no, I love breaking rules!) and it imaged well there too. I've been focusing more on the tonal balance than imaging for the last day or so, but I will try moving them again and see if I can make some improvements there too.

Jules

"Harsh" is very different to " Forward". CA is well designed, so it isn't harsh IMO....Though personally, I have found CA too uninvolving for my taste.

IME. Q Acoustics are not Forward or Analytical sounding...and neither is the Gato - So if you don't get the sound you are looking for. I'd be looking at the Source.

My rather cheeky suggestion would be - if you like how the Gato DAC sounds (and like the Amp enough to buy it)... I would get the one with the Streaming Module..and sell your digital front end.

I agree with not changing too many parameters.

Edited by CnoEvil
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

+1 to what @Cnoevil suggested.  I would try the inbuilt dac in the Gato briefly to just check the possibility that the observed harshness is not from the CA as source. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • oldius changed the title to Q Acoustics

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...