Audio Note speakers and SS amps

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Shiver, May 8, 2019.

  1. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Interested in any findings from pairing AN speakers with SS amps. Good, bad, or indifferent. Or even hybrid amps with SS power sections.

    Very little out there on it, compared to the more natural valve amp pairings, and I wonder how much it's been tried.

    My own experiences with AN/E-Ds, briefly and in order:
    - Croft Integrated. Lovely overall tone and nice mid/high texture. No real low end snap but a natural fullness to it. Open sound. (Tried alongside an Oto PP which had nicer more defined mids and better imaging. Similar mid bass but more depth. Not dissimilar overall tone.).
    - Nord Ncore (Class D). More clarity and grip on the bottom and smooth highs. No compression as volume increased, and bascially zero noise floor, which could be amazing for cranked up impact, especially for music with sparse backgrounds and silences. Superb imaging. Only thing 'missing' was a more organic kinda midrange.
    - Quad Artera Stereo. Not quite the clarity of the Nord, but more natural overall feeling with a richer, more enveloping sound in the mids especially. More harmonic mojo. Solid imaging too. If asked with the Nord if I'd have liked more bass I'd have said no thanks, but the Quad has been like adding a sub, and I'm happy for it! Incredible new but not overpowering depth. More alive and full at low listening levels too. Compresses slightly more with volume but not to any bad point. It's really bowled me over. Note it's also double the cost of the Nord.

    No doubt a class A SS amp eg Sugden would bring something extra, but it's not for me now.
     
    G B Kuipers likes this.
  2. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Any experiences at all?
     
  3. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    On entry level, I am currently enjoying a used pair of AN AZ Two with a Yamaha A-S501 integrated. It's working well, shockingly well to be honest, although I'd be the first to admit that changing out the Yam for a more refined amp would yield a more convincing midrange, tonal colors, and depth of image.

    As you say, a Sugden a21 (which I have used to good effect with Tannoys in the past) could be a great ss pairing with AN speakers. I think @Richard Austen can probably tell us more about that combo.
     
    Shiver likes this.
  4. Encore

    Encore Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denmark
    I've heard that some people are quite happy having big SS amps and AN speakers. And I may have some experience to contribute with in a few weeks time ;)
     
  5. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    What are you going to use?
     
  6. Encore

    Encore Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denmark
    Isn't settled 100% yet. And 'try' would probably be a more covering description than 'use'
     
  7. bhazen

    bhazen Infinitely Baffled

    Location:
    Newcastle, WA
    I'd love to try AX-2s with my Naim stack ...
     
    Shiver likes this.
  8. Whoopycat

    Whoopycat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Des Moines
    I haven't used the combo much but I did briefly try hooking up my class D SPEC amp to my AN-K/Spe's and it sounded pretty good. I'll try to give that combo some more run this weekend and will report back if/when I do.
     
    Shiver likes this.
  9. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    If you get some sort of Audio Note preamp then it will probably Audio Noteerize the SS power amp to make a good sounding result. That is what happened at the dealer in HK using an M2 preamp and Roksan SS power amp. You could ask the same question in the Strictly for Audio Note thread and perhaps get more replies related.

    Generally speaking it would "probably" be best to use class A SS amplifiers that use EI core transformers and not torroids. These design elements might be a good first step in the research.
     
  10. Melody50

    Melody50 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Thailand
    I have AX-2 paired with SPec amplification, good combination. Spec is soft sounding with AX2 it pours out balanced sound.
     
  11. Donivey

    Donivey Active Member

    Location:
    NC
    I'll give it a try next week, and let you know. I'll be using an AN 2.1X Sig. DAC and a Sugden A21 SE class A amp with E-Spe/HE speakers. TBH, I've been curious about this combo and look forward to trying it.
     
  12. Melody50

    Melody50 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Thailand
    Richard, can you suggest some class A SS amplifiers with EI core transformers?
    I know one is Maraztz PM7005 but it is class AB.
     
  13. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Cool - let us know!
     
  14. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Why's that, specifically?

    As above it's been interesting hearing the Es with the various amps, and I'd say the Quad brings them to life more than the others. Would love to drop an AN one in and see the difference.

    Also heard some Js powered by an Exposure integrated - either 3010 or 2010 - followed closely by an Oto PP. Latter definitely had a better oval sound but it wasn't like the Exposure suddenly seemed poor or a bad match.
     
  15. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Please do. Nice set up.
     
  16. Fred Hansen

    Fred Hansen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europe
    I have used sugden a 21 a with an k and an k. Very good match. I eventually fell in love with audio note tube amps, though
     
    Shiver likes this.
  17. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    Sorry guys. Tried my PrimaLuna EL34 integrated today on the AN AZ Twos, and... it just smokes the Yam in all areas. This is a wonderful sounding affordable combo, full and lifelike. Bass isn't as well defined with the PL (slightly over-ripe) as with the Yamaha, but that's the only area where the Yamaha wins.

    Still curious about the Sugden though.
     
  18. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Had a Prologue 2 once, really liked it. Have wondered how it would fit in now. KT88s tightened the bass a bit in that but 34s gave the lovely mids. Saw in your profile Quad Elite monos - tried those?
     
    G B Kuipers likes this.
  19. slcaudiophile

    slcaudiophile Forum Resident

    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    i’ve been curious to try the First Watt stuff on my AN ANE Spe HE speakers ...
     
  20. Donivey

    Donivey Active Member

    Location:
    NC
    Rather the wait until next week, i had some time this so hooked up the Sugden to E-Spe HE speakers and listened for awhile . The sounds are clearer, more transparent, and decay is very good, as always with the Sugden. However, the OTO SE Sig. just has more grunt, greater dynamics, better harmonic separation and is just more musical and easier to spend time with. Life is short;I’ll be
    Switching back tomorrow.
     
    Jim13, Shiver, Fred Hansen and 2 others like this.
  21. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Compelling option hey, but never heard one.
     
  22. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Nicely described.
     
  23. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    The Quad Elites are still hooked up in my second systems and yes, they are definitely on my list to hook up to the AZ Twos to see how that goes. In my opinion the Quads are very good amps that come pretty close to the ideal ss power amps (i.e, providing no special flavor but just good neutral amplification with lots of control and power reserves).

    Will get back with an update after I try the Quads. I am rather enjoying the PL integrated so it will be difficult for the Quads to follow their act.
     
  24. Whoopycat

    Whoopycat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Des Moines
    Ok, I hooked up my SPEC amp and my AN-K's and am cranking up some Herbie Hancock Sextant. Sounds pretty terrific. I also have an Oto and I'd mostly agree with Donivey's comparisons, but depending on the music I might prefer either amp.

    Bottom line I would certainly say that AN-K's are not allergic to solid state amplification.
     
    Done A Ton, Shiver and Encore like this.
  25. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Yeah really interested if you do get chance, cheers.
     

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