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
    Yours is the first I've heard about SPEC amps - nice.
     
  2. Whoopycat

    Whoopycat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Des Moines
    Yeah, Melody50 (he posted above) and I are the only SPEC owners I know of on the forum. SPEC's new flagship amp has just been reviewed against an Ongaku (both AN UK and Kondo)! But it's about $70k.
     
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  3. Melody50

    Melody50 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Thailand
    [​IMG]
    For Spec amplification, you have to high sensitivity speakers and Impedance should not dip below 4 ohms, there is informative review based on actual performance of spec amplification.
    Spec me up!

    Audio note AX-2 works out with Spec
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
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  4. Melody50

    Melody50 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Thailand
    Couple of weeks before I changed my house and I have to park the Tube amplifiers temporarily due the summer and I thought of giving chance to Audio note Ax-2 as Harbeth C7 was too much of bass and sound was muddled due to the room acoustics.
    In previous house Harbeth C7 were wonderfully sounding.

    Room acoustics plays major factor how your speakers sounds.
     
  5. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Yep. Specific amp-speaker interactions are one thing, and speaker-room interactions another. Together they're fundamentally unique. Also influenced by type of music played and volumes required (ie some speakers don't come alive till volume and others don't like being pushed; and lower powered amps obviously have limits, but then some 'powerful' ones might never sound that oomphy, depending). Aye it's a personal thing.

    I may well go back to a valve amp one day when it suits as they do IME have an extra something. But it's been fun and interesting trying the Es with these others, and some amazing sounds can still be had. In fact the Quad in particular has been quite jaw dropping at times.
     
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  6. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    It is not common to see AN speakers matched to solid state because the kind of sound that an Audio Note fan seeks is best provided by a tube amp. But, they are easy to drive speakers with a warm, non-edgy sound that should actually work extremely well with any kind of amplifier. I have only heard one of the smaller speakers hooked up to a nice and reasonably priced Bel Canto Class D amp and the combination sounded quite good.

    I think the only concern I would have would be putting a very powerful amp on these speakers. I would be concerned with over-driving them, either deliberately or accidentally. I know someone who took out the tweeters on AN-E's with a modestly powered tube amp playing classical music, so I would be just a bit concerned about having too much power available. I have heard Peter playing AN speakers at what I thought was ridiculously high volume at CES, but, still, I would be concerned about too much power.
     
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  7. Andy Saunders

    Andy Saunders Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    I own the latest ANK/LX and have used them with the following SS/Hybrid amps:

    1. SONY TA-F770ES ( 80's amp) very rich and musical sound- though the K's are wide open shows the Sony's colouration, however very nice sound.

    2. Virtue Audio Sensation M901 with Russian PIO caps.... battery PSU... an amazingly musical sound that is very coherent indeed!

    3. My latest amplifier Vincent SV237MK ( Hybrid with Mullard M8137 valve in the window position and and Harma STR in the other positions)… this is a real high end sound! It has everything.... do not know where to start really.....love it.:goodie:


    Would like to try a Nord Acoustics amplifier with them a s these are supposed to be a good match with Audionote loudspeakers.
     
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  8. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Very well put - first points.

    I've heard Es and Js played really quite loud by dealers (one actually kept turning it up as I was demoing, a bit annoyingly), but still it's good advice. Guess you wouldn't know the limit till you broke it...
     
  9. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    This is fairly odd because when Peter ran his Jinro at deafening levels (like really stupid loud) they had no issues. So I am not sure volume level is the issue for the AN E. I wonder what amplifier issue is going on to cause a problem for the AN E. It must be some sort of clipping problem.

    The E can take 150 watts.

    Personally, I haven't liked the AN E with PP amplifiers or SS in general - I find they bully the speaker and lack any of the magic the speaker is capable of. My KingKo is good but it's the EL84 which is generally SET like in a number of ways similar I suppose to the OTO push pull.

    Ultimately, I just think people should probably put a Single Ended Triode. I suppose there are exceptions and maybe we're limited by money.
     
  10. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    SETs or valve (power) amps in general have their own considerations and just aren't for everyone; if as you say they likely are the ultimate combination with these speakers. The point of this thread is to explore options outside of that.

    Edit... Which as I and others can attest can still sound bloody great!
     
  11. Andy Saunders

    Andy Saunders Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    l actually connected my Virtue Audio Sensation up to my K's today and the sound is very relaxing ( super smooth ), where the Vincent ( hybrid amp) the Virtue has a few rows back perspective, which is 3D and a deep soundstage- an all day listen as it is my rest day from worky.:righton:
     
  12. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    I have used AN/E-Lexus-HE speakers with a SS amplifier, rated at 150 wpc, at two audio shows. These speakers are 97 dB efficient in the corners of a room, so a minuscule amount of that power capability was actually used. Both times the sound was absolutely wonderful. One of them was voted best sound at the show. The other was given a "Gold Award" by one of the internet reviewers.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019 at 6:11 AM
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  13. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    I don't know what this person did to kill his tweeters (both); any speaker can be damaged by excess power. I have heard the AN-Es played WAY louder than I prefer, even with fairly modestly powered amps. To say that the E's can take 150 watts is, if true, an incomplete statement. It may be the case that an occasional peak at that level is okay, but sustained power at a fraction of that level will be damaging. There is just so much heat that a small fabric domed tweeter covering a wide frequency range in a two-way speaker can dissipate.

    I do agree that all of the AN speakers sound quite good with SET amps. I don't know enough about using them with solid state to categorically rule out solid state, but, I haven't heard many solid state amps that sound really great with any of the speakers I like. I agree that most pushpull amps have a punchy, forceful sound, compared to SETs, but I hardly think that all of them lack the magic of SET. I have heard quite a few pushpull amps that sounded wonderful with AN speakers, these were fairly exotic amps utilizing 350B, 349 and 300B tubes in pushpull. The two candidates for best I've heard with AN-Es were a pushpull amp running 252 tube (real, Western Electric 59B amp), and a custom-built OTL amp. Both one could say they have a forceful sound, and I suppose one could say they they "bully" the speaker, but, for my taste, it doesn't hurt the sound of the AN-Es.

    Aside from some large, custom-built horn systems, I have not heard any speakers that I like more than the AN-E SEC Signatures my dealer had for a while in his shop. I liked what the special wiring did for that speaker enough to buy Sogon speaker wires and a long Sogon interconnect; I plan to wire the speaker internally with AN wire.
     
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  14. bhazen

    bhazen Fab Fourever

    Location:
    Newcastle, WA
    What is the entry-level (standmount) AN speaker model these days, and price for same (2019?) ...? Trying to find information on the Internet (even from AN's website!!) is an exercise in confusion & frustration ...
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019 at 4:00 PM
  15. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Great stuff Warren. Which amp was it?
     
  16. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    AX range are the smallest but their website says 'currently unavailable'... If so (not sure if dealers would hold stock or however it works), that would leave the K range.
     
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  17. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    The show awards were with a Voss Audio amplifier, which I am also a dealer for. I have also heard great sound with these speakers and an AN Oto Signature, AN P1 Signature, Music Reference RM-10, and the AN Ginrei amplifiers.
     
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  18. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    My price is 3 years old so add maybe 10-15%

    AN E D (Paper woofers) $3,985
    AN E D (Hemp Woofers) $4,242

    AN E/Lx (Paper Woofers) $5,479
    AN E/Lx (Hemp Woofers) $5,804
    AN E/Lx (Hemp Woofers High Efficiency (HE) $7,056

    The AN E/D only come in black and the cabinetry is a MDF with front and back panels Russian Birch.

    The E/Lx has the same cabinet options as all of the higher models - full Russian Birch and all the colour/finish options. I owned the AN E/Lx Hemp. terrific.

    The AN E/D appear to be a throwback to the original AN Es to keep the price down.

    Personally I would very seriously consider the AN J/Lx $3,736 ($4,054 for Hemp). Unless you really need that lower octave the AN J is more than enough for most people. Around $1800 less than the E version.

    The J/D is $2,988
    J/D Hemp is $3,246.

    Just remember the prices have gone up but SOME models may have gone up less - as they use different materials. I heard the J/Lx in HK and it really is good enough to be end game level speaker. You can spend more on AN speakers but it really isn't necessary. The entry level has the magic sprinkle dust.
     
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  19. bhazen

    bhazen Fab Fourever

    Location:
    Newcastle, WA
    Thank you Richard!

    I was being unclear, though (my fault; I tend to forget that AN E's are technically 'standmount' speakers). I was thinking of AX-series speakers (including those AX-2's you liked), or maybe AN K's. (I live in a small studio flat that wouldn't be out of place in Hong Kong, housing a schoolteacher or something.)
     
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  20. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    These are the two models I have on display at The Audio Home. Are your price estimates here in HK$ or USA$? What is the conversion to USA$? The current prices in USA (and USA$) for these is about 15% higher than your estimates shown.

    The AN/E-Hemp sound VERY good with an Oto Signature or P1 Silver amp, and above.
    The AN/E-Lx-Hemp-HE sound even better with Empress Silver or Quest Silver amps, and above.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019 at 3:03 AM
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  21. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Hi Warren the price list was the 2016 USD price list. So a bit out of date now.

    HK prices are around the same but no sales tax. Which is a big deal as in Canada we pay 12.5% in GST and PST.
     
  22. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    I think the AN K/Lx is $2400. The AX Two around $1000. The current K/Lx sound better than my old K/Spe.

    The K is the way to go if you can. Just because you get the finish options. It is sealed so it should actually be the easiest of all AN speakers to work in any room.

    The reason the new Lx sound better than older K/spe is that the new ones are all Russian birch at the woofer surround is now foam...old ones were rubber.

    Considering the price and the competition the AN K is a no brainer. The B&W 805 is $6500 and isn't as good. If I see a second hand pair here I might grab them. I'll sell off the KEFs.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019 at 3:50 AM
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  23. suntzu

    suntzu Member

    I’ve got a couple of First Watt amps. Maybe I’ll try them
     
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  24. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    Generally speaking, I am not a fan of solid state amps, but, I like the two First Watt amps I heard. The J-2 I had in my system for about two weeks (borrowed from a friend) and it was very good--lively, good at low volume, harmonically saturated (did not sound thinned out) and engaging. That same friend built his own SIT amp based on First Watt schematics, and this might be an even better sounding amp (I did not have it in my system, so this is a rough guess).

    My guess is that the AN speakers will sound quite good with the First Watt amp. I actually think they will sound good with ANY amp, they simply have an easy to listen to, engaging personality that should work with just about anything.
     
  25. jlykos

    jlykos Forum Resident

    Location:
    Parts Unknown
    I bought the AX-Two last year and the price was $1200 for the pair.

    Question: I use the AX-Two with a Sophia Electric Baby push-pull tube amplifier at 10 watts per channel. I find the speakers to be a bit on the bright side with not a lot of low end. I have them on loaded Skylan stands around 2" from the rear wall, which is as close as I can get them. If I changed amplifiers to a KingKo, would that be more of a lateral shift or a clear improvement? I also have a 120 watt Cambridge Audio 840A integrated that I can try with them. It would be total overkill from a watts perspective, but the amplifier is very neutral. Any advice?
     

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