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9 hours ago, HouseElf said:

After buying a Sugden ANV-50 at the beginning of the year then, for a number of reasons, moving it on for an I-A4 I am back with another ANV-50:

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What made you go back to the 50 from the 4 bud?

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New to the rack

Hello all Picked up my brand new IA4 yesterday and my room is very warm now. Took me about an hour to pull the trigger after having one on home demo a few weeks ago.  Decided after many years of

So, having been underwhelmed by the ANV-50 and as subsequently reported here: I took my Posselt Albatrosses to Fanthorpes in Hull and heard them driven by A21 Signature, A21SE and IA-4. The IA-4

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7 hours ago, radiant red said:

What made you go back to the 50 from the 4 bud?

This year has really been a tale of three sets of speakers. I bought the blue ANV-50 to go with a pair of Boenicke W5SE’s which is did surprisingly well. To me the 50 wpc spec is misleading in some ways as the fact this doubles into for and the output is stable down to 1 ohm makes all the difference. It brought the best out of the Boenickes at the time besting 200/250 watt alternatives.

I then, to scratch an itch really, swapped out the Boenickes for some Falcon LS3/5a’s. I felt the ANV-50 had just a little bit too much drive for the Falcons and so sold it and bought an IA4 which was stunning with the Falcons.

Next came a pair of Dynaudio Special 40’s that replaced the LS3/5a’s. The IA4 was fantastic with the Special 40’s. Amazing in fact but I suspected that the speakers could could with a little more current behind them to really get them going.

I tried an NAD M33 for a few days and it was very good but didn’t have the organic sound I wanted. It was the best Class D amp I have ever tried but there was still something about the way it sounded that didn't quite sit right with me. 

So I decided, rather than going round in circles, that I would go back to something I was familiar with hence the ANV-50.

As a comparison between the two amps, having heard them both with the Dynaudio’s I suspect I could live with either. What the ANV-50 brings is more scale and the speakers seem to fill the room with music effortlessly. The bass performance is incredible.

The IA4 has a little more tonal richness to me and emphasises the midrange just a touch more than the ANV-50. It is very slight but it is there. 

As I say, I could probably live with either with these Dynaudios but the extra drive, scale and bass performance just edges out the IA4 for me. A different speaker, as I have found, may be a different story.

I hope this helps and sorry for the ramble!

Edited by HouseElf
Some corrections.
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23 minutes ago, HouseElf said:

This year has really been a tale of three sets of speakers. I bought the blue ANV-50 to go with a pair of Boenicke W5SE’s which is did surprisingly well. To me the 50 wpc spec is misleading in some ways as the fact this doubles into for and the output is stable down to 1 ohm makes all the difference. It brought the best out of the Boenickes at the time besting 200/250 watt alternatives.

I then, to scratch an itch really, swapped out the Boenickes for some Falcon LS3/5a’s. I felt the ANV-50 had just a little bit too much drive for the Falcons and so sold it and bought an IA4 which was stunning with the Falcons.

Next came a pair of Dynaudio Special 40’s that replaced the LS3/5a’s. The IA4 was fantastic with the Special 40’s. Amazing in fact but I suspected that the speakers could could with a little more current behind them to really get them going.

I tried a NAD M33 for a few days and it was very good but didn’t have the organic sound I wanted. I was the best Class D amp I have ever tried but there is still something about the way it sounds that doesn’t quite sit right with me. 

So I decided, rather than going round in circles, that I would go back to something I was familiar with hence the ANV-50.

As a comparison between the two amps, having heard them both with the Dynaudio’s I suspect I could live with either. What the ANV-50 brings is more scale and the speakers seem to fill the room with music effortlessly. The bass performance is incredible.

The IA4 has a little more tonal richness to me and emphasises the midrange just a little bit more than the ANV-50. It is very slight but it is there. 

As I say, I could probably live with either with these Dynaudios but the extra drive, scale and bass performance just edges out the IA4 for me. A different speaker, as I have found, may be a different story.

I hope this helps and sorry for the ramble!

Thanks for sharing. Bound to help other wammers with their own journey - or at least reassure them that they're not the only one going round in circles!

All the best.

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@HouseElf nice write up. I still fancy giving a ANV-50 a try. 

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2 hours ago, marko said:

Yes. an interesting write up Rob. Thanks. Your Orange ANV-50 looks lovely!

Thank you. My thoughts are bit all over the place as I wrote the post on my phone whilst making breakfast this morning.

The amp is really difficult to photograph too and get a realistic idea of of the orange. It looks even better in the flesh. 

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This is an intruging turnabout. When I auditioned the ANV-50 vs the IA-4 I found it easy to settle on the IA-4; it's £1000 more but frankly, to these ears, it's twice the amp of the ANV-50. Ears, speakers, room, system synergy... each to his or her own, of course - as always!

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So true ...I found a sugden to be just fantastic in one system but just too much of a good thing in another 

Edited by hifinutt
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On 12/12/2020 at 20:58, TheFlash said:

This is an intruging turnabout. When I auditioned the ANV-50 vs the IA-4 I found it easy to settle on the IA-4; it's £1000 more but frankly, to these ears, it's twice the amp of the ANV-50. Ears, speakers, room, system synergy... each to his or her own, of course - as always!

As you say it is about system matching. The IA4 is more organic and suited the Falcon LS3/5a's beautifully but struggled to get the Dynaudio's going. If I only listened to acoustic music etc I would never have sold the IA4. 

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@HouseElf glad I’m not alone in my appreciation for the ANV-50!

The bass performance, overall sense of timing and ability to drive almost any speaker was what swung it for me vs the Sugden class A offerings. 

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31 minutes ago, Heckyman said:

@HouseElf glad I’m not alone in my appreciation for the ANV-50!

The bass performance, overall sense of timing and ability to drive almost any speaker was what swung it for me vs the Sugden class A offerings. 

I loved the amplifier the first time around earlier in the year when I had it but it was just a little too much for the LS3/5a's I changed to. Now I have the Dynaudio Special 40's I can really appreciate the bass drive and depth it has whilst still retaining the wonderful attributes of the Sugden house sound. The IA4 is just a tiny bit more organic in the midrange for me but it cannot compete with the ANV-50 in the bass area. Looking at your DAC I think that will help balance things nicely by fleshing out the mids. A good NOS/R2R DAC is next for me to look for. 

I am glad you are enjoying yours. 

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47 minutes ago, HouseElf said:

I loved the amplifier the first time around earlier in the year when I had it but it was just a little too much for the LS3/5a's I changed to. Now I have the Dynaudio Special 40's I can really appreciate the bass drive and depth it has whilst still retaining the wonderful attributes of the Sugden house sound. The IA4 is just a tiny bit more organic in the midrange for me but it cannot compete with the ANV-50 in the bass area. Looking at your DAC I think that will help balance things nicely by fleshing out the mids. A good NOS/R2R DAC is next for me to look for. 

I am glad you are enjoying yours. 

Yeah, sometimes it's hard to know which box to point the finger at!

Going from PMC to ATC "fixed the mids" for me. Also lowering the noise floor of the system (esp. from the digital sources etc) has helped a lot for the purity of the sound.

As for the Aqua DAC, I'd say it was pretty neutral in terms of overall leanness/warmth (which is fine IMO). It's the model above that has a valve in it (for a bit of added weight/bloom?) whereas the top of the range again has no valve. For me, the key attribute of the Aqua is getting the timing / dynamics right, it has a fluidity.

I don't think NOS vs OS is that big a deal, I do sometimes listen with the OS done on the computer (HQPlayer), it's maybe slightly better but not something I miss if I don't bother with it. Not sure all NOS DACs are automatically good, they certainly don't all have an FPGA chip in front of the converter which I suspect allows Aqua to dispense with the more traditional OS.

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5 minutes ago, Heckyman said:

Yeah, sometimes it's hard to know which box to point the finger at!

Going from PMC to ATC "fixed the mids" for me. Also lowering the noise floor of the system (esp. from the digital sources etc) has helped a lot for the purity of the sound.

As for the Aqua DAC, I'd say it was pretty neutral in terms of overall leanness/warmth (which is fine IMO). It's the model above that has a valve in it (for a bit of added weight/bloom?) whereas the top of the range again has no valve. For me, the key attribute of the Aqua is getting the timing / dynamics right, it has a fluidity.

I don't think NOS vs OS is that big a deal, I do sometimes listen with the OS done on the computer (HQPlayer), it's maybe slightly better but not something I miss if I don't bother with it. Not sure all NOS DACs are automatically good, they certainly don't all have an FPGA chip in front of the converter which I suspect allows Aqua to dispense with the more traditional OS.

It is a fair point about DAC's and the assumption that a certain topology will have a specific sound signature. It is interesting what you have said about the Aqua DAC as I had assumed with the combination of Italian brand and R2R it would have been on the darker side of neutral. 

You mentioned about lowering the noise floor of the system from a digital perspective. Can I ask what steps you too to achieve this please?

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1 hour ago, HouseElf said:

You mentioned about lowering the noise floor of the system from a digital perspective. Can I ask what steps you too to achieve this please?

Sugden themselves advised me several years ago to stick to vinyl (preferably) or CD due to computer noise (RFI/EMI) going everywhere once inside a system. At that time I was of the "bits are bits" belief, and more or less determined just to use consumer gear like computers, tablets, phones etc. as I could see it was "the future". I thought the hifi company streamers were a waste of money. To be fair, at the time, I did get by with just fine with computers and tablets as my entire system was firmly in the budget category. Only after upgrading speakers and amp did I slowly come to realise the full significance of the advice I'd been given.

More recently, hearing my ANV-50 with my speakers plus a very good turntable (well out of my price range!) brought home to me just how bad my digital source really was (and how capable my amp and speakers really were).

As to what I subsequently did, I did almost all the things that create arguments on forums ;-)  ...the rabbit hole goes very deep and I think you can already guess. Hard to give advice as I went only one way and there are other equally valid alternatives which I didn't compare with. 

If you have a Node 2i, there's a nice long thread on pimping it..also on reclockers...I've done a similar thing but with the Allo Raspberry Pi. I went with the Pi platform as I prefer to buy just the circuit boards and case, then choose my own PSUs and OS/software. 

Also worth bearing in mind "stock" computers themselves have improved a lot in terms of SQ compared to the computers of the pre-streamer days.  My work iMac (2019 i9) does in fact sound really quite good as long as you use a very good digital converter / reclocker. And of course you can also spend a lot of money and get a very nice purpose designed audiophile server/streamer or even build your own...many roads lead to Rome.
 

Edited by Heckyman
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1 hour ago, HouseElf said:

It is a fair point about DAC's and the assumption that a certain topology will have a specific sound signature. It is interesting what you have said about the Aqua DAC as I had assumed with the combination of Italian brand and R2R it would have been on the darker side of neutral. 

From what I've read the La Voce S2 was darker (than the S3). But maybe more due to constraints of the multibit DAC chip used than a deliberate choice of "house sound". 

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